Just-in-time and Just-in-case: Helping members manage their financial lives

With many consumers living paycheck to paycheck, a just-in-time and just-in-case financial experience is more desired than ever. In fact, same-day posting of transactions is the most desired online banking enhancement for respondents to the 13th Annual Fiserv Consumer Trends Survey.

What’s the rush? Blame cash flow issues, mismanagement or simply procrastination, but 36 percent of consumers have paid a bill after its due date in the last 12 months, according to the Seventh Annual Billing Household Survey from Fiserv. The price tag for living on the edge can be steep, paid in late fees, possible credit score dings and other hassles. Consumers, especially those on tight budgets and with limited savings, benefit from opportunities to better manage their financial lives.

Paying bills isn’t a job most of us enjoy. In fact, 83 percent of consumers say receiving and paying bills is a medium- to high-effort endeavor. Consumers worry about due dates and late payments – and are looking for help. It’s up to financial institutions to provide the capabilities people want, including alerts, reminders and options to speed last-minute transactions. It’s also up to financial institutions to teach consumers how to use these tools and make sure they fully understand their benefits.

“Life happens. Bills get lost, money is tight and due dates are forgotten,” said Eric Leiserson, director of research and insights, Biller Solutions, Fiserv. “When financial institutions save the day with multiple ways to make late or nearly late payments, consumers don’t forget it.”

Multiple options for making urgent, same-day payments, including payments via text, mobile app, tablet, mobile point-of-sale, phone and even wearable devices, are particularly helpful for customers who live paycheck to paycheck. Consumers want payment choices and use an average of three bill payment methods each month, according to the Billing Household Survey. When asked about emergency bill payments made through a financial institution, 52 percent of respondents to the same survey said having an emergency payment option increases their customer satisfaction.

Similarly, millennials want same-day posting of electronic bill payments and the ability to view bills electronically on their smartphones. Although millennials are 40 percent more likely to make an emergency bill payment – and 67 percent more likely to make an emergency payment through their financial institution website – consumers from every demographic are looking for a variety of options to facilitate emergency payments.

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